Red Idioms


Last updated: July 26th 2016

Be like a red flag to a bull: Making others angry on purpose so as to draw attention to oneself. This can be for example a public speech where you insult groups of people or organizations, or simply by being insulting in general.

Red Eye: Very cheap whiskey, which often means that the whiskey has a very high amount of alcohol. I don’t recommend you take any whiskey that your friends consider “red eye” as you will probably remain intoxicated for several days. Beware!

Red Herring: To give a red herring is to give someone or an organization a piece of information that drives them away from the real facts. Red herring is actually a kind of smoked fish that was once used to mislead dogs because of its strong smell.

Roses are red, violets are blue.

Red-letter day: A day of great importance.


A red cent: To have absolutely no money at all.

Cam red: Cambodian red marijuana, also known as Cambodian red.

Cut through red tape: Red tape is bureaucracy and needless paperwork. To cut through tape means to remove all the swamp-like procedures and systems that stand in your way and reaching your objective while avoiding all the complications. If only the real world worked that way.

Down your little red lane: Down your throat. Often used in the context of giving medicine to a child.

Go beet red: The response that happens in some people when they are ashamed or embarrassed, becoming very red in the face.

Paint the town red: The act of going out and partying with friends, usually involves alchool and a bunch of other activities that your parents would probably not approve. Example: Tina finished her work out and the gym so it’s time to party and paint the whole town red!

Raise a red flag: To act in a way that disturbs or annoys others.

Red carpet: What they put in front of famous people when they enter an important venue. The red carpet is symbolic, representing a way to welcome important guests or people.

Model yourself after Steve Jobs? Bad idea.

Red ink: Debt.

Red mist: Being very angry; metaphorically covered in the crimson mist of fury that blinds your senses and makes you do stupid things.

Red-hot mama: A beautiful woman that stimulates the senses.

Red-light district: A part of the city (some cities have multiple red-light districts) that hosts all the brothels and massage parlors and everything else that has to do with sex. Having been in Amsterdam myself, I can tell you that, while it’s an interesting part of town to walk through, it’s not a lifestyle that seems particularly fun. Many women do it out of a need for money.

I've stopped racing to get to the red light.

The red mist descends: To enter an aggressive state that fills you with anger and makes you want to smash tings and hurt people. Not recommended.